Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Man Who Knew and Drew Adam Smith

The Scotsman, 17 Sept 2005

The artist who included cartoon-like sketches of Adam Smith drawn from life in his collection, John Kay, is now commemorated by his grave in Gretfirars Churchyard, Edinburgh. Kay’s portraits of Smith are famously reproduced in books and in newspaper articles about him. The Scotsman used a Kay portrait when it published an article of mine in March on Adam Smith, for example.

The initiative regarding Kay’s grave side memorial (his grave was left unmarked for nearly two hundred years, why, nobody knows) is most welcome. I append a few lines from the article in today’s Scotsman:

“His etchings of Edinburgh notables date back 200 years, and are at most nine or ten inches high, with some black-and-white caricatures hardly larger than a credit card.
But John Kay's art deserves a bigger place in Edinburgh's memory and Scotland's art history, say campaigners led by the 44 Scotland Street author, Alexander McCall Smith.

Mr McCall Smith is to unveil a memorial stone to Kay today, near his unmarked grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard. A bronze plaque will also be unveiled at Kay's former home on 227 High Street.

The gentle satirist's most famous subjects ranged from the founding father of economics, Adam Smith, to the notorious villain Deacon William Brodie.”


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